The shepherds of Germany had used dogs with their flocks long time ago. Those dogs were of no specific breed or type. Looks counted for nothing at that time, only the dog's ability to perform his job.
Late in the 19th century, a movement to combine the various sheepdog breeds into a definite breed was created which led to the formation of the first society of the German Shepherd Dog. The moving spirit and the first president of the society was Max von Spephanitz. In a few years, through careful selection and in-breeding of herding dogs in Germany, a beautiful, intelligent and useful breed was created: the German Shepherd Dog.
Stephanitz was very strict in his demands of utility and intelligence in the breed. In its utility and intelligence, according to him, lay the dog's beauty, and it had no beauty aside from those qualities.
The German Shepherd Dog society soon became big business with more than 50,000 members and over 600 branches. It was the largest and best organized association of breeders pertaining to a single breed in the entire world. German Shepherd Dog fanciers were not limited to Germany - soon the breed circled the world.
Max von Stephanitz early recognized that to retain the natural character of the breed, the best means was work. However, the opportunity to work with flocks was lacking. Herr von Stephanitz tried to interest the various authorities in the use of German Shepherd Dogs in the police. At first his efforts were opposed and laughed at. Then, gradually his efforts led to creation of the service dogs system in Germany.
In America, the first German Shepherd Dogs were registered in 1912 by two fanciers from Pennsylvania. Soon, the the breed became very popular and in 1915 the German Shepherd Dog Club of America held its first specialty show.
From sheep dog in Germany to guide dog in America to universally loved and admired canine, the German Shepherd Dog is undisputably the world's most recognized dog breed. German Shepherd Dogs are the most popular family pets and children's companions throughout the world.
German Shepherds make wonderful family pets in city apartments as well as country homes and on farms, because they are so easily trained. They love children and get along with them very well to the point that they can serve as outdoor baby-sitters.
The German Shepherd Dog has proved his versatility and more than paid his way in many different jobs. Thousands of German Shepherd Dogs have serverd in the armed forces of different countries. The first guide dogs for the blind were German Shepherds.
Our fascination and our passion for this breed comes from their versatility and their ability to work well in so many different areas and yet still make excellent family companions. There are so many stories about German Shepherds acting as heros that it seems that German Shepherds spend their whole lives going around saving people. It's not unusual to pick up a newspaper and read about some heroic effort taken by a German Shepherd to save a child from an icy river or to risk his life protecting his family.
The German Shepherd Dog is often referred to as a "police dog." His alert appearance and sense of responsibility, as well as his work with the armed services and law enforcement officers has earned him that respected name.
The affection of the owner for his German Shepherd Dog is seldom predicted upon his comparative excellence as a show dog. Character, temperament, responsiveness, intelligence, and the ability to perform the services for which he is trained and used is to the owner more important than the conformation to a physical ideal. How many of us would not prefer to possess another Rin-Tin-Tin, a dog without any of the qualifications of a great show dog, than to have the geatest champion that ever lived?
The difficulty of developing the personalities and temperaments of a large nujber of dogs at the same time makes the breeding of German Shepherd Dogs in wholesale numbers an insuperable task. Other breeds may be reared in the kennels, duly fed and cared for, and left to themselves. The mentality of the Shepherd is so highly organized that he stagnates or becomes neurotic without human companionship which he craves.
Most of the shyness and the sharpness and other undesirable temperaments observed in the breed are not inherited but are conditioned by neglect, indifference, ill treatment, or some avoidable or unavoidable mental trauma that the dog has suffered. Of course some German Shepherds are more alert and receptive to the regimen of training than others, but almost any young Shepherd can be developed into an agreeable and responsive companionship and many of them can be taught to perform routine duties. A few can be developed into super dogs with what appears to be a strong faculty to reason like a human being.
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